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If you’re looking to spice up your sex life, weed could be the answer.
A mounting body of research suggests the substance can reduce anxiety, decrease pain, and boost muscle flexibility, Insider previously reported.
These cannabis-related effects could pair well with intimacy, which for many is marked with performance anxiety, genital pain or discomfort, or racing thoughts that prevent people from staying in the moment.
According to Dr. Jordan Tishler, an internal medicine physician and the president of the Association of Cannabis Specialists, patients regularly ask him about how they can incorporate cannabis into their sex lives. Before treatment, they cite issues like difficulty with sex drive and arousal, pain on penetration, anxiety and PTSD, and difficulty achieving orgasm.
Cannabis can quiet the mind and boost intimacy
THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis, interacts with the brain in a way that quiets the ego, Tishler previously told Insider. The result is a calmer, more go-with-the-flow demeanor in some people, he said.
Other participants said using cannabis helped them release feelings of guilt surrounding sex so they could better focus on the moment with their partner.
It can also reduce pain and increase pleasure
In the same study, participants said cannabis increased feelings of pleasure and boosted their orgasms.
“I’ve been having anal sex for, like, probably a decade, but until very, very, very recently while having an edible [i.e. ingesting cannabis], I’ve never actually liked it… It’s never been better than a six out of ten,” one study participant told the researchers.
“I’m actually enjoying this for like the first time, solidly, like a nine out of ten [after taking the edible]! And then the next time I had sex without an edible, I was enjoying it as an eight out of ten. I’m like, ‘Huh?!’ So it changed something in me.”
Women have also reported cannabis improving their overall sexual satisfaction and orgasm intensity.
A small March 2019 study found women who used weed before sex, typically smoking it, reported more satisfying orgasms, a higher sex drive, and better sex overall, Insider previously reported.
When a person consumes cannabis, it “gently stimulates” brain receptors in charge of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps you feel happy, Tishler said. As a result, any given activity can feel more fun and pleasurable.
According to Tishler, both men and women can use cannabis to boost their sex drives. But men have to be more careful about how much they consume, because too much weed can impede an erection and make penetrative sex difficult.
To use cannabis during sex, start with a low dose and avoid edibles
If you want to infuse weed into your sex life, it’s best to start with a small dose and see how your body reacts, said Tishler. Consider talking to your doctor about the best course of action before proceeding, he said.
Tishler suggests newbies start with 5 milligrams and choose a strain with between 15% and 20% THC. Any more could heighten your anxiety and ruin the experience. Tishler said his patients benefit from 5 milligrams to 20 milligrams of THC per dose.
The method you use for getting high also matters.
“Edibles are too slow and unpredictable to be very helpful for sex involving two or more people who need to be ready at the same time,” said Tishler, because they can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours to create an effect.
Instead, Tishler recommends vaporizing cannabis flower because it’s the easiest on your lungs and simple to mix into foreplay. He said to take one or two puffs before you get down to business.